A Tricky Little Visitor

This morning when the students arrived, they immediately noticed that their leprechaun traps had been tripped, and there were little green footprints all over their desks!

These traps were created last week as part of the March Family STEM Project.

I had the students write down the three steps it takes to catch a leprechaun.

 

Lucky me! I caught some little leprechauns of my own!

 

 

Dino Day

We wrapped up our dinosaur unit with a dinosaur showcase this morning. Parents were invited to attend our Dinosaur Extravaganza where they looked through the math and language arts activities the students completed over the last two months. Activities included measuring life-sized footprints.

Bones with long vowel words hidden on them were excavated.

Students wrote a creative piece about what they would do with a pet dinosaur.

They researched a dinosaur of their choice.

Students classified dinosaur skeletons as herbivores or carnivores based on characteristics they had learned.

 

The art activities were incredible.

 

Students sculpted the dinosaur that they researched.

Each student created a glow in the dark, Pop Art-style painting of the dinosaur they researched.

The finale was the premiere of each students’ dinosaur presentation that was created using the Puppet Edu app. I am so proud of the students’ hard work.

 

I’d say we have a class full of dinosaur experts now!

We Are a 100 Days Smarter!

I can not believe how quickly the last 100 days have passed…zoom! We celebrated this special milestone ALL day! The morning began with the centenarians arriving at a little slower pace than usual.

When the students entered kindergarten, they were surprised to see (or not see) 100 chocolate kisses hidden around the classroom. Their goal throughout the day was to find these chocolate kisses and match the number written on the bottom to our 100 chart.

Then it was time for our 100th Day Collections parade. Each student in the Lower School collected 100 items to display at their workspace. Look at all these unique ideas!

Next up was a round of eight very special 100th Day-themed centers. (Thank you, Marsha McGuire!)

100 licks!

100 beads for a 100th-day necklace

What can you build with 100 cups?

or 100 marshmallows?

or 100 LEGO bricks?

Stamping 100 gumballs.

Ordering numbers 0-100

Busy, busy! After lunch and in the middle of a HAIL storm, the Lower School enjoyed 100 cupcakes!

The fun wasn’t over yet….the kindergarteners made 100th Day trail mix.

Time for an afternoon nap. This old lady is tired!

Spreading the Love

Valentine’s Day came a little early to Kindergarten this year! I planned our parent party for first thing this morning.  I wanted there to be several activities that the parents could engage in with their child. Take a look at these fun activities!

Race to see how many pompoms you can blow into the bucket in one minute.

Make a three-dimensional shape using heart-shaped gummies and toothpicks.

Stack the conversation hearts! Students used tongs to see how many hearts they could stack in one minute.

Weave a heart-shaped placemat.

Bead a Valentine’s themed necklace.

I also made a photo wall and took pictures throughout the event.

We ended this part of the morning with each student reading their special Fill Up Our Hearts notes that we have been writing. (Read more about this project here:)

How Full is Your Heart?

After recess, students shared the mailboxes that they made.

After the presentations, students passed out their Valentine’s. We then enjoyed a delicious cookie from Lilac Patisserie.

I just love how they are decorated! It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

How Full is Your Heart?

Besides learning how to read and do math, Kindergarten is an important time for children to learn how to be a good friend and to realize how what they say or do affects others. One way that concretely teaches these concepts is to have students visualize a bucket above their heads. When they say or do something kind or someone does something positive for them, a drop of water is added to the bucket. If the child is sad or angry or someone says something unkind to them, a drop of water falls out of the bucket. We talk a lot about being “bucket fillers.” There is a wonderful book that illustrates this concept beautifully:

After reading this book aloud to the class, I introduced a special project. Over the course of two weeks, the kindergarteners would be working to fill up the hearts of their classmates by writing everyone a special note. I showed students the template that I created to help with this process:

I wrote an example for the students that demonstrated just how personal I wanted each of the notes to be:

I showed the students how we would “fill up” each others’ hearts with these heartfelt notes, reading them aloud with our parents at our Valentine’s Day party.

Heart envelopes

The students were eager to get started.

They were encouraged to use best guess spelling, spaces between words, beginning capitalization, and ending punctuation.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the thoughtful notes:

I am so excited to see the children’s reactions when they read their special notes.

 

Compassion

Last week our Swooper Citizens topic of the week was compassion. Compassion means caring about others. This short video clip demonstrates compassion perfectly.

 

I wanted to give students the opportunity to truly practice being compassionate. I filled a jar with activities that show compassion and asked students to each choose one.

Students were encouraged to show compassion by completing the special deed listed on their card.

Many students reported back today that their acts of compassion were completed and VERY appreciated!

Dinosaurs

We are entering the third week of our dinosaur unit. The days have been jam-packed with all things dinosaurs. From dinosaur-themed language arts centers, to a dinosaur research project, to dinosaur crafts galore, students are eating up this unit!

Students wrote a creative writing piece about what they would do if they had a pet dinosaur.

Students learned about and built volcanos!

 

Students excavated bones (with a twist!) in our sensory table…

The font is so small that I couldn’t even read the long vowel words with my glasses and a magnifying glass! Good thing the children have solid vision!

 

Students created Perler Bead dinosaurs.

 

They even have made dinosaurs from several types of food:

The “Waffle-a-saurus”

 

The “Fruit-a-saurus”

 

And my personal favorite, Dinosaur Pizzas, inspired by the book written by Lee Wardlaw, who visited our Lower School earlier this year.

 

We went on an exciting field trip to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, where we participated in the learning lab, Meet the Teeth. Students revisited the terms herbivore and carnivore.

The also classified skulls according to the types of teeth each had.

Each student has chosen a dinosaur to research using the website PebbelGo!, which is a wonderful tool for beginning researchers. Students were encouraged to select a dinosaur about which they knew close to nothing. They are working on creating specific pieces in Art Class to go along with their research. We will wrap up our Dinosaur Unit by putting all the pieces together in a short digital presentation that each student will design. Here is a peek at the reports:

Look for a future post with the finished project soon!

Teamwork

Would you believe that our Swooper Citizens theme of the week is Teamwork? Mrs. Vanetti and I were discussing how this is the PERFECT topic for today. Yesterday, at 3:15 pm, we were told to prepare to hold classes at our alternate site in Goleta, as evacuation orders were being issued. Teachers worked together to pack up classroom necessities, rework lesson plans, and organize books and supplies. We helped one another load cars and worked through schedule changes. Talk about TEAMWORK!!!

When I arrived at Girl’s Inc. this morning, the large storage tubs that I had packed back in September were waiting for me in our temporary classroom space. All I needed was a pair of scissors to cut open the zip ties so that I could access the supplies! After a quick text to the teachers, a pair of scissors was delivered to my room, and I was able to get the classroom set up and ready for the day.

Fast forward to our Swooper Citizens lesson, we asked the students to describe a time when they either witnessed or were a part of an act of teamwork. We defined teamwork as:  Working together to accomplish a common goal.  Next, I showed the students some video clips and asked them to give me a thumbs up if the video showed teamwork or a thumbs down if the clip did not show teamwork. Have a look at some of the examples I used:

We wrapped up the lesson with a read aloud: The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza. I bet you know what that book is about! Teamwork!

Here’s some super high-fives for all the teamwork today. Yay!

It’s 3D!

I had so much fun introducing students to three-dimensional shapes this week using the clever book Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes by Stuart J. Murphy.

“Captain Invincible and his intrepid space-dog, Comet, are on a perilous journey back to Earth!

Throughout their mission, the fearless captain and his canine sidekick encounter asteroids, poisonous gas, and alien beings. But will their knowledge of three-dimensional shapes, including cubes, cones, and pyramids, help our heroes navigate past these obstacles — and make it safely home.” (Amazon)

I introduced each three-dimensional shape with a poster and a corresponding foam block. The students had the opportunity to hold each of the shapes and discover the number of surfaces, edges, and faces.

We practiced sorting pictures of items, using the new vocabulary words we had learned. Students then had fun playing an alien-themed sorting game on the Smart Board.

To further demonstrate their understanding of three-dimensional shapes, students used the Seesaw app to find these shapes around the classroom. They were encouraged to label the shape using their best guess spelling or the spelling on the shape posters.

We even used the recording tool!

I loved how engaged the students were in these activities. There will be more three-dimensional shape fun to come!

Magnet Wall Finale

We met with the Middle School Engineers for the big reveal of the magnet wall creations. The kindergarteners were practically jumping out of their seats with excitement and anticipation.

Here is the pirate ship with a treasure box and pink and purple princesses.

The loop-d-loop with each of the students’ names on it as well as custom stoppers.

The tree, unicorn, and special ice cream. Look at the details!

The puzzle pieces that had to fit together and be decorated with dinosaurs, a unicorn, and buildings.

We went out to the Magnet Wall and put the pieces to work.

What an impressive showing! Thank you to our MS Engineers for all their hard work and dedication to this project. You made these kindergarteners VERY happy!